OAKLAND COUNTY-The Oakland County Community Mental Health agency, one of the largest in the state, has gotten out of the business of providing direct care for around 14,000 people with psychiatric and developmental disorders.

Instead, it has contracted out this care to Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC) and Easter Seals, which will use the same 240 direct-care staffers used by the old system, to assure continuity of care for the patients.

Unlike the old system, both contractors will face heavy fines if they fail to meet clearly stated contractual standards of care. The contract also contains monetary incentives for meeting desired objectives, such as placing patients in community settings. "No other Community Health Service in the state has a performance contract," John Torrone, MORC public affairs director, told the Detroit Free Press.